Man fined £2,000 after removing face mask at B&M thrift store


The incident happened to Christopher O’Toole in February last year when government regulations on coronavirus stated that face masks had to be worn in stores.

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Man fined £2,000 after removing mask at B&M

A man faced a £2,000 fine after removing his face mask at the B&M budget store.

Christopher O’Toole felt unwell shortly after entering the store in a busy retail park in Prescot, Merseyside.

He was initially wearing a mask, but felt ill and removed his mask as he prepared to leave the outlet.

He was approached by police as he was leaving and the officers took his name for not wearing the mask inside the store.

The incident occurred in Prescot in February last year when government regulations stated that face masks must be worn in shops.

O’Toole said he has no problem wearing masks in public, but took them off briefly because he wasn’t feeling well.

A shopper claims he was fined £2,000 for removing his face mask in a shop
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Image:

echo of Liverpool)

He told the Liverpool Echo: “I was worried when the police pulled me over and was just asking can I go?

“They said I could go after taking my name and I thought that was it and I didn’t think about it again.”

The 30-year-old was at the store because it was close to where his father lived and did not think about the incident until he received a letter from the ACRO criminal records office telling him he had to pay a £100 fine.

Mr. O’Toole said he was not going to pay the fine because he had only briefly removed his mask.

He said: “I sent them an email saying I wasn’t going to pay a fine for taking my mask off for about 16 seconds, it’s not a possibility.

“I didn’t hear from anyone for months until I got a letter in early December saying I owed £2,000.

The B&M store at Cables Retail Park in Prescot, Merseyside
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Image:

echo of Liverpool)

Mr O’Toole said he was really worried when he got the letter, especially as Christmas was four weeks away.

He said: “It was four weeks before Christmas and they wanted the full amount.

“They could have taken my full salary and I still wouldn’t have been able to settle it.

“I emailed them back and found out she had gone to court without me knowing.

“I had to sign a legal statement to show that I knew nothing.”

The ACRO criminal records office, which issued the ticket to Mr. O’Toole, said it does not comment on individual cases.

ACRO explained its role, telling ECHO that it has been supporting the police response to the pandemic by administering fixed fine notices.

The organization checks the accuracy of the notices before contacting the recipient and requesting payment of the fine within 28 days of the letter.

But if a recipient contests the notification, ACRO returns the case to the appropriate police force.

Mr O’Toole is now set to go to court over the matter, due to appear in February.

He said: “I am worried, but I want to have the opportunity to be able to fight my case.”

B&M has been contacted for comment.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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